Wildlife 'may be put at risk by homes bid'
PROTECTED species of bats and dormice could be put at risk if 110 new homes are built on the edge of Crewkerne, according to a government body.
Natural England has written to South Somerset District Council to advise local wildlife is likely to be affected by the plans submitted at the end of July – as animals' natural habitats will be disturbed.
The plans concern land at Goldwell farm, to the north of the town, which is currently five fields.
The Government-funded organisation, which aims to conserve the natural environment for future generations, said applicants, Gleeson Developments, may need to apply for a licence to carry out the building work because bats and hazel dormice are European Protected Species.
James Hughes, from Natural England's customer services consultation scheme, said the body does not object to the proposed development.
But he explained that before building starts, the developer must draw up a strategy detailing the measures they will take to stop harm coming to the night-time creatures who are likely to be affected by the land being dug up.
He also said that the developer may have to apply for a licence for anyone who might cause damage to the habitat or breeding area of a protected species.
He said: "We are satisfied, however, that the plans for mitigation are broadly in accordance with the relevant guidelines."
Natural England conducted a survey of the area earlier this month.
It concluded that great chested newts are not likely to be affected but have not looked at the impact on badgers, barn owls, water voles or crayfish.
A decision on the plans is due to be made by the district council in late October.